Brady Marzocco of the North Okanagan Knights is stripped of the puck by Braden Eliuk of the Summerland Steam in front of Steam goalie Matthew Huber in KIJHL action Sunday afternoon in Summerland

Brady Marzocco of the North Okanagan Knights is stripped of the puck by Braden Eliuk of the Summerland Steam in front of Steam goalie Matthew Huber in KIJHL action Sunday afternoon in Summerland

Knights open playoffs in Osoyoos

On paper, the KIJHL first-round playoff series between the North Okanagan Knights and Osoyoos Coyotes is a gross mismatch.

Morning Star Staff

On paper, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s first-round playoff series between the North Okanagan Knights and Osoyoos Coyotes is a gross mismatch.

But the series is not played on paper.

The Coyotes – who enter Game 1 of the best-of-seven series Tuesday at the Sun Bowl having won their last 12 regular season contests – finished first in the Okanagan Shuswap Division at 41-9-1-1 (only the defending champion Kimberley Dynamiters had a better mark at 41-7-0-4).

Osoyoos tied for the most goals scored (224 with Beaver Valley Nitehawks) and set a new KIJHL record for fewest goals allowed in one season, 93. No other team allowed less than 100.

The Knights – losers of their last three and 2-7-0-1 in their last 10 entering the series – finished 48 points behind the Coyotes at 14-30-3-5, scored nearly half as many goals (116) and allowed 159 goals against.

The Coyotes boost the KIJHL’s scoring champion in Rainer Glimpel, who had 30-55-85. North Okanagan’s leading scorer, Graham Watkins, amassed 13-24-37.

The Knights, however, are the only Okanagan-Shuswap Division team to have beaten the Coyotes (who won the season series with North Okanagan 5-2-1) twice.

Both wins came in their last four meetings, both in Osoyoos, and the Knights are 2-1-1 in the last four with the Coyotes.

The Knights closed out the regular season Sunday with a 4-1 loss (Jordan Bautista, 1st) in Summerland, the back end of a home-and-home with the Steam, who won 4-3 at the Nor-Val Sports Centre Saturday. Trent Redschlag (7th), Patrick Nicholson (6th) and Austin Fournier (11th) scored for the Knights.

Fournier and Brady Marzocco (6th) scored for North Okanagan Friday in a 4-2 loss to the hometown Kelowna Chiefs.

KNIGHTS VS OSOYOOS COYOTES

Game 1: Tuesday Feb. 23, at Osoyoos;

Game 2: Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Osoyoos;

Game 3: Friday, Feb. 26, Nor-Val Sports Centre, 7:30 p.m.

Game 4: Saturday, Feb. 27, Nor-Val Sports Centre, 7:30 p.m.

Game 5*: Monday, Feb. 29, at Osoyoos;

Game 6*: Tuesday, March 1, Nor-Val Sports Centre;

Game 7*: Wednesday, March 2, at Osoyoos;

* – If necessary.